My career journey changed direction considerably in the Summer of 2022. I ventured into the World of Construction. 

At the time, knowing nothing (or very little) about this industry, I questioned if I’d made the right decision.  Coming from a background predominantly in the glitzy Marketing Industry, it was hard to believe I could be passionate about Bricks and Mortar! I was wrong. Construction is so much more than that. 

The opportunity came along purely by chance one evening when my partner spotted the advertisement for the position of Office Manager at John Southworth. Already settled (and happy) at the time in a position at my previous employers, I very nearly didn’t apply, however… 

Reading the job description – and to summarise my thoughts, if it was on Tinder, I’d be swiping right! I’d be foolish not to apply. The position would challenge all aspects of my brain (I get bored without that) and there would be plenty to learn in a new industry! 

Greeted at the interview, initially, by a chorus of barks by Molly and Bobby Brown (no, not the singer) followed by a discussion with Steve and Jackie, the Directors, over a cup of tea (Builders Strength – standard), I could see how this role was going to be anything but boring. I was excited (and daunted in equal measure) to learn a few days later that the position was mine. 

My first day at work began with a list of every conceivable service that the subcontractors, suppliers and agents provided for John Southworth. I hadn’t realised how many aspects of construction there were.  Added to this, it seemed impossible to identify who did what and what went where. And my first challenge?  Build a Supplier Directory from this list! 

Steve and Jackie spoke of their vision with the directory, explaining what they wanted to achieve going forward. Building a database in Microsoft Access was the best way of future-proofing this system and they supported this, so I set to work. What did this database teach me? Everything I know now. 

The Supply Chain was the best starting point I could have had. Steve, Jackie and the team patiently answered my (many) questions – and yes, we now have a fully functioning database directory of suppliers – one which we can continue to build on. Aimed at saving time in the search, the Projects Team now have instant access to Supply Chain Partners when they need them. And yes, it’s so much easier these days to categorise those services! It’s strange to believe that building databases could teach me the language of construction! 

Along came visits to sites to see the team at work there, seeing the hard work that went into the properties they all played a part in constructing was like seeing a blank canvas materialize in front of my eyes!  Meeting such a diverse team of people, each with a specific part to play made me realise there was a role for everyone in this industry. 

Finding your way in a brand-new role is never easy. The trust and patience the team at John Southworth shown during those first months of learning proved invaluable. So came along an introduction to further aspects of the role composing newsletters, collating folders, arranging repairs, organising training, copywriting, printing, you name it! Now, this doesn’t cover everything, so to say the role is diverse would be an understatement, for sure! 

The role I perform in the Construction Industry is just one of many and I’ve had the pleasure to work with other women in this industry – in varied roles. With the demand for housing being at one of the highest points it’s ever been, a career in Construction offers not only offers stability, but is both interesting and rewarding in equal measure. 

For any women out there considering any career in this industry, I’d simply say, “Build one!”